Mary of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves

Mary of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves (1393 – 30 October 1466) was the second child of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria,[1] and an elder sister of Philip the Good.[2]

Mary of Burgundy
Duchess of Cleves, Countess of Mark
Marie of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves.png
Dijon, France
Died30 October 1466 (aged 72–73)
Monterberg Castle, Kalkar, Cleves
SpouseAdolph I, Duke of Cleves
IssueMargaret, Duchess of Bavaria, Countess of Württemberg
Catherine, Duchess of Guelders
John I, Duke of Cleves
Elisabeth of Cleves
Agnes, Queen of Navarre
Helen, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein
Marie, Duchess of Orléans
FatherJohn the Fearless
MotherMargaret of Bavaria
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Born in Dijon, she became the second wife of Adolph, Count of Mark in May 1406. He was made the 1st Duke of Cleves in 1417. They were the grandparents of King Louis XII of France and the great-grandparents of John III, Duke of Cleves, father of Anne of Cleves, who was fourth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England. By their daughter, Catherine, they were ancestors of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Duke and Duchess of Cleves lived at Wijnendale Castle in West Flanders. She died in Cleves in present-day Monterberg, Kalkar.


At the death of Adolph of Cleves in 1448, his son John I of Cleves succeeded him. Mary retired to Monterberg Castle, near Kalkar. Returning from a trip to the Middle East in 1449, John visited the Benedictine monastery of Bologna and decided with his mother to found a similar monastery in Kalkar, which would be built to house a dozen monks.[3] Construction began in 1453 and was complete by 1457.[4] The buildings housed numerous works of art and a large library. After secularization in 1802, the church and most of the buildings were demolished, works of art spread throughout the surrounding churches, notably in the Church of St. Nicholas in Kalkar. From the monastery only a part of a wall remains.

The city was driven by development of the wool weaving industry. The wealthy bourgeois and the presence of the nobility in the person of Mary attracted artists, solicited for their works in oils and clay. The Kalkar church, completed in 1450, and the monastery, were the subject of many decorations. The city became, until the early sixteenth century, the center of a school of sculpture including Heinrich Douvermann. Further, scientists like Konrad Heresbach, counselor of the Dukes of Cleves, humanist, lawyer, educator and farmer, periodically resided in Kalkar. This flourishing period ended in the mid-sixteenth century, when, after the fall of weaving activities, epidemics of plague decimated the population.




  1. ^ Janet Backhouse (1997). The illuminated page: ten centuries of manuscript painting in the British Library. p. 166.
  2. ^ Aline S. Taylor (2002). Isabel of Burgundy. p. 64.
  3. ^ « Dominikaner in Kalkar » sur
  4. ^ « Die Dominikaner in Kalkar » Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine sur le site KLE-point.
  5. ^ de Sousa, Antonio Caetano (1735). Historia genealogica da casa real portugueza (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Lisboa Occidental. p. 147.

Further readingEdit

  • Early Netherlandish painting: its origins and character, Volume 2, Erwin Panofsky, 1971